Even though the watch industry has not been doing too well for the last couple of years, watch communities around the world are thriving. The community in Finland is also alive and well, growing year by year.
Last weekend, Watch Show Finland was held in Helsinki. When you saw the list of brands coming to the show, you would not think this was only the third time this show was ever held. The most notable ones were Voutilainen, Grönefeld, Sarpaneva and Grand Seiko.
Kudos to the organizers!
The venue was bubbling with life when I stepped in. People were gathering around all the booths, chatting with each other and taking wrist shots of each others’ watches. The atmosphere was excited, and people were walking about, eagerly going to all the booths to see what they had on offer.
Grand Seiko, known for their outstanding finishing and quality, had sent one of the ten master watchmakers to the show. One of ten. Ten.
Just let that sink in.
The 29-year-old, already at the top of his career, wowed the crowd by assembling a spring drive movement in three separate workshops during the show. It was fascinating to see all of the tiny screws and plates find their own place as the steady hand of the watchmaker guided them. Finally, the little escapement wheel started spinning and the movement came to life.
Stepan Sarpaneva was naturally also at the show. On display, he had brought the new Lunations, with Sarpaneva’s first in-house movement. The movement boasts a moonphase complication accurate to the next 14,000 years. You know, the basic stuff. The rumour also has it there might be a certain chronograph coming out in the near future. Exciting times.
Kari Voutilainen had brought his new 28ti. This sceleton watch is not a typical Voutilainen, but carries on with his distinguishable design language. Legibility aside, everything about this piece is fantastic. The escapement lies all the way at the back of the movement, creating a nice layered look to the design. You could just stare at this watch for hours.
The new star guest of the show, Grönefeld had their booth next to Voutilainen’s. The brothers Tim and Bart showed me their gorgeous 1941 Principia - the €30,000 watch that Hodinkee put on their list of ‘Best Everyday Watches’.
The guests were wearing some pretty fantastic pieces as well. Here are a couple of shots.
These are the kinds of events that make this watch hobby worthwhile. After all, it is the watch community that is the most important thing. To me, the highlight of the event was to finally meet many of the people I’ve only seen posting photos on various Facebook groups and forums. Thank you Ville Arzoglou for arranging this event once again!